The Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance (SERA) program, which helps low-income residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, has started accepting applications to distribute new funding.
The application window opened May 11 and will remain open until all funds are expended. Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of their tenants, and tenants may also apply on their own behalf.
The Sacramento City Council last February allocated $31.7 million in state and federal funding to support local housing needs during the pandemic, with an additional $2 million increase coming to the Council for approval later his month. These amounts follow the $5.3 million City Council approved in City CARES Act funding for the first round of SERA.
The SERA program — a joint effort among the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and the County of Sacramento — has received 13,000 applications to date that are currently being processed for rental assistance payments to eligible applicants. The program is being administered by SHRA.
“There is a great need for rent and utility assistance and residents need financial help” said Danielle Foster, the City’s housing policy manager. “We are proud to partner with SHRA and local community-based organizations to help get these funds out to the community as fast as possible, including those residents who are most difficult to reach due to language and cultural barriers.”
Tenants and landlords can apply on SHRA’s website. To be eligible for the assistance, applicants must:
- Be a renter (apartment, house, etc.) in the City or unincorporated County of Sacramento;
- Have household gross annual income at or below low-income limits ranging from $50,750 for a household of one to $95,700 for a household of 8;
- Have at least one household member that is unemployed, or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; AND
- Demonstrate a risk of being unhoused or housing instability.
Eligible applications will be placed in a computerized random order. Priority will be given to those households who earn 50 percent of the area median income or less, those who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to the application date and to those who owe rent arrears.
The funds can be used to pay rent and utility bills owed that was incurred from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. Families can also apply for prospective rent assistance through June 2021. Immigration status does not impact household eligibility to utilize the state funds.
Those who have previously applied to SERA prior to February 2021 and/or received funds for rental assistance can and will need to reapply if they have additional rental assistance needs.
Additional details on eligibility requirements and the application process can be found at shra.org/sera. Need help applying? SHRA has enlisted several community-based organizations across Sacramento to help residents apply and for translation services. Find a list of those organizations here.
Other COVID-19 resources including Wi-Fi access, youth programs and help accessing financial resources can be found on the City’s COVID relief website.